Friday, September 06, 2013
Remember Your Building Number
In Doha it can be very difficult to find the location of a building. The smaller streets in the neighborhoods can be so labyrinthine that no one bothers to remember street names. I can maybe name twenty streets in the entire city. I have no idea of the name of the street that I live on, nor the street next to it. Pretty much everyone only knows the main streets like the Corniche, the ring roads, Salwa Road, etc.
Thus navigation becomes an exercise in remembering landmarks. Directions are usually about being near somewhere or in some neighborhood, such as, “near Crazy Signal, behind the car dealership”, or “in Al-Sadd, close to Sports Roundabout”, and so on. It can be a problem if you get a taxi but aren't sure exactly where you're destination is – the taxi driver probably will not know either unless it's a well-known place.
This can also create a problem for Emergency Services, how are they to know where you are? So the Government has been doing an ad campaign asking people to memorize their building numbers so that they can give it to emergency services.
All buildings now have a plaque like this:
It gives you the neighborhood (in this example 22), a street number so you don't have to memorize the name (880), and the building number (15). By memorizing the numbers you then don't have to memorize the neighborhood, street and building name. Street names have not changed, the street this building is on does not have street signs saying it’s “Street 880” but at least you don't have to remember the name, just the number.
I don't think it'll help you with taxi cabs, but I didn't have an issue memorizing the numbers just in case I need emergency personnel at my building. If you're reading this in Qatar you should memorize your building numbers too.